Orange slices and a maple-balsamic reduction add sweetness to this oil-free beet and quinoa salad.
I’m not sure when beet season is, but recently I was able to find three different types of beets in the local grocery stores: “regular” red beets, golden beets, and lovely chioggia beets. Faced with such a surplus of riches, I did what any beet lover would do–I bought them all. Then I brought them home and roasted them.
If you don’t like beets, try roasting them. Roasting brings out their sweetness and minimizes their “earthy” flavor. Combining them with something sweet, like oranges slices, and something tangy, like vinegar, also enhances beets’ flavor.
And why would you want to eat them if you don’t like them? Because just as they are saturated with color, they are saturated with nutrients. They are an excellent source of folate and a very good source of manganese, potassium, and copper. According to whfoods.com, “These colorful root vegetables contain powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer.”
Roasted beets are a great addition to any salad–just slice or chop them and add them to any green salad. But I had a craving for quinoa, and I could just imagine the slightly grassy flavor of the quinoa and the sweet earthiness of the beets. To accentuate the sweetness, I added slices of clementines; to add protein and make this a main dish salad, I included my favorite legumes, chickpeas. And I tossed it all with the simplest of dressings, a reduction made from white balsamic vinegar and and a touch of maple syrup.
I’m usually someone who loves strong, spicy flavors, so I didn’t expect to be wowed by this simple combination, but I could not get enough of it. I even made a second batch that I’ve been eating for breakfast. If you love beets, this is a “must try” and if you don’t like beets, how about giving them another chance?
Beet and Quinoa Salad with Maple-Balsamic Reduction
- 3 large beets about 16-20 ounces
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa rinsed very well
- 2 2/3 cup vegetable broth or water plus veg. bouillon
- 4 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 1/2 cup chickpeas or one 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained
- 4-6 clementines, satsumas, or other small seedless oranges about 1/12 cups orange sections
- 1/2 cup green onions sliced thin
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds Optional, but good.
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar see note
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 F. (I use my toaster oven to save energy.) Wash each beet well and wrap it in aluminum foil. (You can wrap it first in parchment paper and then foil if you don’t want it coming into contact with the aluminum.) Bake for 50-60 minutes, until you can pierce a beet with a fork. Set aside to cool.
- While the beets are cooking, cook the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and drain well. Heat a medium-size saucepan, add the quinoa, and toast it for a few minutes until much of the liquid is evaporated. Add the vegetable broth and garlic, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff and let cool.
- When the beets are cool enough to handle, trim off the top and remove the skin by holding a beet under running water and rubbing the skin with your thumbs. Use a knife to peel off any stubborn patches.
- Dice the beets. Add them and the chickpeas, clementines, green onions, and almonds to the quinoa.
- Make the balsamic reduction: Put the balsamic and maple syrup in a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it boils. Continue stirring until the volume reduces by about a third–it should take about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. If it’s too thick to pour once cool, return it to the heat and stir in more balsamic vinegar until it’s pourable. Pour it over the salad and stir well.
- Refrigerate the salad until ready to serve.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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ShannonMay 19, 2014 at 10:31 am
Oh my gosh, this is just so beautiful! Perfect harmony of fruits and vegetables together. Thanks for sharing!
KaryMay 19, 2014 at 11:50 am
I think I will try this with grilled beets to keep my kitchen from getting too hot.
WernerMay 19, 2014 at 12:54 pm
From a devoted beet lover, I will definitely be making this. Fantastic photo!!
Kelly PalmerMay 19, 2014 at 2:22 pm
This looks amazing! So bright and colourful, I wouldn’t be disappointed to be served this at a restaurant.
KarenMay 19, 2014 at 2:42 pm
OMG this looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. I’m a beet lover anyway and I’m always looking for good cooked recipes that taste good cold. I take my lunch with me and in the summer I like eating cooler foods but want more than just “raw”. If I had beets now, I would make it today!
KarenMay 20, 2014 at 3:49 pm
Dont forget the chickpeas! They arent in the instructions even though they are in the ingredients list and the whole story before that. And, of course, i see them in the photos.
KarenMay 29, 2014 at 10:24 am
OK, I’ve made this twice now and it’s definitely a hit. I love this as a hearty but refreshing summer salad. I had to substitute navel oranges instead of the clementines, but it’s still to die for.
Vicki@ Vee's Easy VeganMay 19, 2014 at 3:35 pm
Wow, the colors are AMAZING. Beets are such a cleansing food, great for detoxing. I also use them as color ( instead of the artificial kind) in many things.
KateMay 19, 2014 at 3:59 pm
Can’t wait for beets from my CSA now!!!
moonwatcherMay 20, 2014 at 1:38 am
This looks beautiful and sounds great! Chioggias are my favorite beets and the balsamic reduction sounds really good too. Wonderful photo!
sylviaMay 20, 2014 at 9:48 am
wow! this is absolutely beautiful. definitely a summer must try
LidaMay 22, 2014 at 5:04 am
Hi Susan! This looks amazing, I’m a beet and chickpea lover! Thank you for your blog and your colourful suggestions! I am neither a vegan nor vegetarian! I simply don’t like red meat, I am also on the” 5-2 diet ” so your blog helps me a lot! I love making them!
caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummyMay 23, 2014 at 7:30 pm
what a stunning dish! looks lovely and super delicious!
HeidiMay 25, 2014 at 5:58 pm
While making this was a bit of a production, it was well worth it. I did not have green onions (nor do I like raw onions), so I substituted chives. Other than that, I followed Susan’s directions and was not disappointed. I have never cooked beets before and managed to find fresh mandarin oranges, which were both delicious.
Texas AnnMay 27, 2014 at 9:26 am
Wow! This was easy and great. Love the sweetness of the dressing. Only thing I changed was I used ‘love beets’ infused with ginger.
RachelMay 28, 2014 at 1:01 am
I made this dish this weekend and man, was it a crowd pleaser! Not only is it delicious I got a crowd of “oohhhs and ahhhs” in the office lunchroom!
Oh, also, I froze the leftovers, and it heats up very well.
thanks for this!
sukydeeMay 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm
Susan, I rarely leave comments, but I can’t contain myself! This salad is incredible! I cut the recipe in half because I’m the only one eating it…now I wish I had made the whole recipe….I could eat it all week!
Millie l Add A LittleMay 31, 2014 at 1:43 am
Looks delicious!! I absolutely love beets and adding citrus just gives it that extra zing!
East Meets West VegJune 2, 2014 at 10:14 pm
The beets give the salad such a beautiful color. I love strong, spicy flavors too, but sometimes simple combinations can really knock my socks off too. Those are the ones that are always such a beautiful surprise!
CarrieJune 9, 2014 at 6:37 am
Tasty salad that a group of friends enjoyed. I did add more maple syrup to the reduction for more flavor. The only thing I found is that all ingredients turned red so it’s not as pretty as the picture.
Susan VoisinJune 9, 2014 at 6:54 am
I’m glad your friends enjoyed it. The secret to not having it all turn red is to use red beets for only part of the beets. I used 1/3 golden beets and 1/3 chioggia (pink) beets, so the color wasn’t so intense.
veganaJune 9, 2014 at 4:24 pm
Beautiful dish … I want to do 😀 Congratulations.
LarissaJune 19, 2014 at 4:03 pm
Fantastic recipe!! It took me a long time to prep and make this dish, but it was well worth it. I used golden beets, so the salad has a beautiful yellow-orange color to it. I am eating it now- warm because I couldn’t wait for it to chill! Thank you, Susan for another delicious recipe!
EstelleJuly 7, 2014 at 11:27 pm
Susan! I started making this salad a few days ago – roasted the beets and cooked the quinoa and made the dressing and decided – today is the day to put it together. And what a beautiful, tasty recipe this turned out to be! I just love the flavors and even though it is winter and very cold in New Zealand at the moment, I can’t stop eating this lovely this salad!
Susan HurleyJuly 8, 2014 at 2:39 pm
Susan, Thank you so much for these recipes … it’s so hard to find recipes w/o added oil. I love this recipe, and thought I might introduce you to a maple-syrup substitute that’s so much healthier. It’s called SunRoot from the Jerusalem Artichoke root, and it’s yummy … tastes like maple syrup without all of the sugar (low on the glycemic index), yet the same consistency. I’ve been substituting it for maple syrup in my recipes for awhile. It can be found on http://www.OmicaOrganics.com. I hope you find it’s as awesome as I have. My intention isn’t to “advertise” on your blog, so if you don’t post this, that’s cool. I was just thinking you might like to try the SunRoot. Susan
Sheree @ Seaweed & RaineSeptember 9, 2014 at 5:31 am
Just stumbled on this recipe on pinterest. Really looking forward to trying it! 🙂 Thank you.
DonnaOctober 31, 2014 at 5:25 pm
Made this today! I thought it was DELICIOUS!!! Since it was soooo good, I am going to check out your Thanksgiving recipes now! Thanks, Susan!
Tessa DowellJanuary 25, 2015 at 3:53 pm
I just made this with golden beets and substituted French lentils for the chickpeas. It is sooooo good. Thank you for the fantastic recipe!!! This one’s a keeper!
ChenJune 26, 2015 at 1:57 pm
Hi Susan. Do you think rice vinegar (unseasoned) or regular balsamic vinegar would be a good substitution?
Susan VoisinJune 26, 2015 at 2:03 pm
I like the rice vinegar for the light color and the balsamic for the flavor. Maybe a mixture of the two? 🙂
ChenJune 26, 2015 at 2:15 pm
Brilliant idea! I’ll definitely use both and will let you know the result. The ingredients are already on my grocery list…I can’t wait to make this. Thank you Susan!
ChenJuly 8, 2015 at 9:18 am
I mixed both vinegars and it turned out just fine. Delicious dish!
KimMay 18, 2018 at 12:12 pm
I can’t wait to try this, Susan! Thank you !
NoriMay 20, 2018 at 4:53 am
This is delicious thank you for this great recipe. The amount of servings, 8 servings is not really realistic but then I used it as a main course..
DebiMay 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm
I made this yesterday for dinner and thought it was absolutely lovely! But then I had some leftovers today, and WOW! Talk about yum! Allowing all the flavors to mix overnight brought it up to the next level.
I’m sold on this recipe! Thanks for posting it!
CLEveganMay 28, 2019 at 8:50 pm
I made this at my sister’s with the only white balsamic she had: two small sample bottles, one was pear infused and the other was honey ginger.. The ginger added a nice “zip” and the salad was even better in subsequent days.
When I make it at home, I will peel the beets and then wrap them in parchment paper & foil to roast them. That might reduce the prep time.
Kim BakerMay 22, 2020 at 12:19 pm
Fun full of nutrition salad! Thx, Susan!